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It’s the end of August, still one of the most sweltering times of year where I live. Summer is giving it’s last hoorah and showing off what it can do here in the South while most of us natives are flipping wistfully through fall clothing catalogs at pictures of folks walking atop hills in chilly breezes while snuggling up in their cozy sweaters.
I’m so ready for fall. I’m ready to wear the sweaters that are never quite appropriate where I live (it never really gets wool-sweater cold here but the models in that magazine make them look so comfy we can’t refuse). I’m ready to bake apples and rake up leaf piles and look for pumpkins. I’m ready to pull my jeans back out and lace up ye olde hiking boots on a crisp Saturday morning to head up to Monte Sano Mountain with the kids. I’m ready to drink my coffee without it making me sweat :). (Apologies to my dear mother. You are right, Mama, ladies do not sweat, we glisten. But I wanted to make sure folks understood my point here so I had to be blunt).
…and I’m really ready for fall food. We have a completely different menu in the fall than we do in the summertime and I’m sooo ready for that.
So today, I’ve decided to break my own rule about keeping foods somewhat in season because, honestly, who makes the rules around here anyway? I keep forgetting that little technicality.
So turn down the a/c, put on a fuzzy sweater, grab a cup of coffee and come with me as we mentally fast forward to fall and make one of my very favorite versions of potato soup!
To make this soup you’ll need: 4-5 medium russet potatoes*, instant potato flakes, Heavy Cream*, 2 cans of Chicken Broth, a small yellow onion, cheddar cheese, salt, and pepper.
Now we need to talk substitutions because there are a ton you can easily make when it comes to this soup.
For the Potatoes - if you don’t want to peel and dice the potatoes, just grab a 32 ounce bag of frozen cubed hash browns. You know what, the shredded ones will work just fine, too!
For the Whipping Cream - the cream gives this a rich and delicious flavor so it is my favorite to use. As a substitute though, I suggest canned evaporated milk, because it also has a very rich flavor that you just won’t find in regular milk.
For the chicken broth - I usually don’t use chicken broth but I bought it special just for this tutorial – because I love you that much! Normally, I’d toss in a few chicken bouillon cubes with some water. The package usually says one cube per cup of water but I usually add an extra cube or two for more richness. I buy them in bulk at Sam’s and they save a lot of money over buying chicken broth. You can also use homemade broth, vegetable stock, whatever cranks your tractor.
These ingredients create a great base for your soup but feel free to add the flavors that you enjoy as well. Garlic powder or a little minced garlic would be great. Some fresh or dried parsley would be a good addition, too. You might even want to add additional vegetables and just change it to a creamy veggie soup at this point.
Today I’m making more of a pure potato soup but with a few key ingredients to really up the flavor.
You’ll also need: Some smoked ham. I’m using smoked pork chops.
This is another thing I’m using to really add some body to my soup. Any type of smoked ham will do, though. I like these smoked pork chops because I use them in my freezer friendly twice baked potatoes and since I’m about to make some of those to freeze (they make such a quick side dish or easy lunch) I needed them anyway.
This will add a really nice smokey ham flavor in with our potatoes.
To begin with, pour your broth into your soup pot and put it over medium heat.
Peel and dice your potatoes…
Oh look, I did one of those tight shots of the diced potatoes. I think this is supposed to make them more appetizing or something. Maybe it is just supposed to show that I know how to zoom…
Dice your onion
And your smoked chops or ham…
Add all of that to your broth and season to taste with salt and pepper, but stay on the light side because we’ll season it again right before serving.
I’d add about 1/4 of a teaspoon of salt now and maybe 1/8 of a teaspoon of pepper.
Bring that just to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer, covered, until potatoes are tender.
This will take anywhere from ten to fifteen minutes, depending on how big your chunks of potato are.
Now add in your instant potato flakes and stir that up.
I love instant potato flakes as thickeners for soups and stews and making the crust to my Mama’s Taco Casserole. I don’t use them other than that, though. My Grandmother’s mashed potatoes were just too good.
Now add in your cheese and pour in your heavy cream.
Stir that up and cook for just a few minutes until heated through.
Top with your favorite toppings, such as:
- Chopped Green Onions
- Fresh Herbs you like
- Sour Cream, etc
A note about Serving Amounts
I sometimes get questions from folks asking me how many servings a recipe has and I usually respond with a smile that “It depends on how hungry you are!”.
In general, I feed a family of four and if I have leftovers I freeze them or use them for lunches throughout the week. If you are new to cooking for a family, in time you’ll get used to how much food certain things will make, for example, a 9×13 casserole.
In my cookbook there are servings listed for most of the recipes but on SouthernPlate.com I just cook like my mother did and make sure I have enough for everyone, making good use of leftovers if any exist. However, I figure this makes four generous servings. That is all relative, though. Your version of generous may be different from mine, you may be hungrier than you realize or not as hungry as you thought you were, so the relative state of servings sizes has about as much value as one of those cardboard sleeves they slip onto coffee cups. Goodness, reckon how much they spend on those things each year?
As always, serve to someone you love.
What are you most looking forward to this fall?
Tell me about it in the comments below!
Excellent advice from a teacher!
This is from Sherri, who was kind enough to submit it on our Give A Penny Page:
This isn’t original, but it is so very true. I am a school teacher, and I try my best to remember this when teaching my students:
“People don’t care what you know until they know that you care.”